prednisone and charley horses

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 8/14/2009 10:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Does anyone know if charley horses can be a side effect of prednisone?  I've been getting really bad ones lately in my calves and currently have had one for over 24 hrs and it doesn't want to go away.  I'm thinking there could be many reasons why I'm getting them really bad right now (pregnancy, prednisone, potassium imbalance) and being pregnant really makes it hard to pin point anything to things.  :(   
Diagnosed with UC in February 2009, has had an ongoing flare up since October 2008.
Medication: Lialda 4xdaily, 20 mg Prednisone, and 1 mg Robinul when needed. 
Pregnant with Miss Gummy Bean and due November 10th!

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 8/14/2009 10:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Absolutely they can. I had horrible cramps in my feet and calves. Often it's because the pred depletes potassium in your body. Taking in extra potassium may relieve them - orange juice, bananas, soy and apricots are all high in potassium. I learned to always drink a glass of orange juice morning and evening when on pred.
Ulcerative colitis forum co-moderator
Moderate to severe left-sided UC diagnosed 2001.
Flared for 5 years, finally in remission with Remicade since March 2006.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from steroids.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. 
"My life is an ongoing medical adventure"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 8/15/2009 12:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Yep. I got them so bad that my muscles in my calves felt twisted for weeks. I was told the same thing, that prednisone depletes potassium. My doctor checked my potassium level, and it was normal. I was then told, by someone else, that the prednisone could have messed up the balance of my electrolytes. Electrolytes include sodium, calcium, magnesium, and a few other things in addition to potassium.
Joy - 47 yrs and counting; Dx Colitis Dec 06 (also had IBS); Currently in remission

Figuring out how to reduce a flare or get into remission is a trial and error experience. Don't expect your GI to have all the answers. He was trained in making diagnoses, prescribing medications, and surgically removing the colon. He was not trained in alternative treatments. That's why they are called alternative treatments.

What works for me: Fecal transplantation, Probiotics, Anti-inflammatory foods, No HFCS, No foods high in fructose, No artificial sweeteners, No pro-inflammatory foods when flaring, Vitamins, Lexapro (for stress).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 8/15/2009 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I would get horrible cramps in my feet and hands, that couldn't be "worked out" and were really painful!
Bananas worked for me, didn't irritate my gut like OJ might. I would eat at least 2 or 3 a day when on prednisone.
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol maintenance for 20+ years; used prednisone & Rowasa for flares.  Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), salmon oil (omega-3) when I can remember. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated wheat/gluten from my diet.
Bad flare in March, used prednisone. Humira denied, started Remicade 4/12 and doing great~ learning what normal is~ wow

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